Notes from December 6, 2020 antiracism meeting

During the summer of 2020, two open meetings were held to explore how our community might address issues of systemic racism within our center and as members of the greater Boston community.  We then scheduled a series of sessions to heighten our awareness and understanding through the use of books, podcasts, films, recorded talks and discussion groups. These ran through late summer and early fall.

On December 6, 2020, a third community meeting was held to discuss next steps. We’ve done some good work, but haven’t started to make the changes we need to make. Moving forward involves 1, education, 2, action (policy and work) and 3, subtle/embodied inner work. Appropriately, different people are drawn to do different kinds of work, but we must have all to create sustainable change.

In the action portion, moving forward with the grant idea seems strong. We need a clear understanding of the problem we’re trying to address, and clear goals. But we must be careful of ‘white’ patterns and biases, e.g. over-analyzing and seeking perfection.  We do need to ask PoC what would make them feel more welcome, what would make us more trustworthy. To ask PoC (and others) to share, we need to be vulnerable first by sharing our understanding of the problem, what we’ve done, and recognizing our blind-spots. We must also demonstrate our commitment to change ($ and time).

This work will involve navigating the dichotomies of stepping in/back, leading/following, etc. It’s living in these challenges that builds trust.

Support of expert outsiders (consultants) will be beneficial when we have clearer goals.

A fourth community meeting will be scheduled for early 2021. At this meeting, we will divide into smaller groups to identify specific work to be done in each of the three key areas – education, action, and embodied inner work.